Courier 2023 / 2 April

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Word from the editor

In crisis, a community of hope

More with Less is the title of a Mennonite-famous cookbook. Home economist and former MCC service worker Doris Longacre Janzen crafted this countercultural cookbook in the 1970s. It exemplifies Mennonite ideals of simplicity and takes inspiration from ways of being in parts of the world where time and treasure are valued differently.  

“More with less” may seem like a promise destined to be broken. It may seem like a burden: asking for greater effort with reduced output. 

Yet is not “more with less” what Jesus urges toward as he calls us to consider the lilies of the field (Luke 12:27)? 

When Jesus urges us to love God above all and our neighbours as ourselves (Luke 10:26-28), is that not a call to find more community with less things? And might our neighbours include all living things? 

After years of warnings, people in all parts of the world are beginning to see the fruition of climate change. We move from one record breaking season to another.  

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says: “our world needs action in all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once.”

This issue of Courier shares some stories of how our “more with less” communities are acting. 

We read about a congregation in Colombia calling members to examine their daily habits and choose ways of less waste. We see their efforts to motivate a community.  

We read how creativity and beauty can be a motivator for young people in France to choose a simple life of following Jesus.  

We read of communities affected by weather events in Indonesia and Zimbabwe – where people pull together to support each other. 

We read how creation care, dignity and hope can be intertwined in Africa for flourishing communities where the gospel is shared in words and actions. 

In Jesus, we have a model for “more with less.” We also have a framework for both individual and community action. God calls each of us to repentance and change of life – and equips us with the Holy Spirit and with a community of faith to journey together.  

As we turn away from consuming, the church community can offer accountability in our choices. Together we can seek to find joy in actions that protect God’s creation – human, vegetable, animal and mineral – both near to us and around the world.  

In our faith, we can find also the language of confession and repentance for this challenge to personal change and systemic revolution. As our faith communities, we can raise a collective voice to transform the systems of greed and consumption that make the better choices so hard. 

The climate crisis is for many a cause for despair. Living more with less, Jesus Christ shows us a path to walk together with hope and Spirit. 

— Karla Braun is editor of Courier and writer for Mennonite World Conference. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada.